EireAbu emerges on top in 2/19/12 Sunday Million for $219K score

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGFollowing last week's "double vision" promotion, the Sunday Million regained its focus this time around. Just one tournament seems more special somehow, and indeed, as is the case every week, the weekly $215 buy-in no-limit hold'em tourney was special enough to attract yet another huge field of players all with hopes of landing a six-figure score.

A total of 7,320 came out this Sunday, building a prize pool of $1,464,000 and thus comfortably clearing the event's $1 million guarantee. The top 1,080 finishers made the money, with $219,600 even going to the winner barring any late-night deals.

It would take almost five hours for the field to be trimmed to 1,080 and the money bubble to burst. At that point jlv60 sat atop the counts, followed by pudikkkkk, Skintz, HolyMacaron5, and km_freestyle.

There were four representatives of Team PokerStars still in the hunt once the doling out of prize money began, with Fatima Moreira De Melo the healthiest chip-wise with a stack good enough to place her just outside the top 50. Meanwhile, Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth, Johnny Lodden, and Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen of Team Online were all alive as well with below-average stacks.

Ainsworth and Lodden would fall in short order, out in 872nd ($336.72) and 806th ($366.00) respectively. Meanwhile, as Petersen added a few to his stack, De Melo won a quarter-million chip pot with K♥K♣ versus mmmauro1973's J♣J♥ to knock out the latter and push into the top five on the leaderboard with 800 players left.

Petersen would hold on for a while longer before finally losing an all-in with A♦Q♠ against NICA-TUCUMAN's [10h][10c] to go out in 518th ($453.84).

De Melo would continue to thrive for a while, then eventually fell back to the middle of the pack as the field shrunk to 200. Soon after that she was all in with K♣Q♠ against Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick's A♠[10h], and when the community cards didn't help her she was out in 187th place ($732.00).


Fatima Moreira de Melo

As more players fell a small group pushed past the 1 million-chip mark at the top of the counts, then Anikke of Norway became the first player to 2 million with 140 players left. Then, as the tourney crossed the eight-hour mark, it was Paul "KingPaulie" Hockin of New Zealand cruising past everyone to become the first to 3 million.

As they approached nine-hour mark the total players remaining fell under 50, by which time Thodoris "teo96" Aidonopoulos of Greece had blown past everyone, pushing way up close to 9.5 million while those nearest -- dynoalot, elmerixx, and KingPaulie -- were all hovering just above or below 4 million.

By the nine-and-a-half-hour break they were down to 26, with teo96 still in front with about 8.21 million, though by then dynoalot had closed the gap and was sitting with just over 8.06 million in second. KingPaulie was still at the top of the counts, too, in third with about 5.96 million.

About 45 more minutes just 10 players were left, with dynoalot now in front with more than 15.75 million, EireAbu close by with about 15.16 million, and KingPaulie still third with about 9.66 million. teo96 was still there, too, though had dropped back below 5 million.

Meanwhile M3LCHIZEDEK was the (relative) short stack with 2,644,567, and with the blinds up to 100,000/200,000 he open-pushed from the cutoff with J♠T♥ and got a caller in Ami "UhhMee" Barer from the small blind who didn't have much more in chips but had his opponent dominated in cards with J♥J♦. The board came eight-high, bringing no help to M3LCHIZEDEK and sending him out in 10th for a payday of $8,052.

The final table was set.


Seat 1: KingPaulie -- 12,236,416
Seat 2: RikardPM -- 2,872,892
Seat 3: teo96 -- 4,563,175
Seat 4: EireAbu -- 14,923,185
Seat 5: UhhMee -- 5,878,085
Seat 6: dynoalot -- 13,356,199
Seat 7: leshark81 -- 7,630,818
Seat 8: WallterBish -- 8,798,390
Seat 9: yanko33 -- 2,940,840

On just the fourth hand of the final table, the blinds had moved to 125,000/250,000 when RikardPM open-pushed for 2,772,892 from early position and dynoalot called from the button. The blinds got out, RikardPM showed A♠9♠, and dynoalot turned over A♥Q♠. The board came 3♥J♣7♠6♠Q♣, giving dynoalot a pair and RikardPM nothing at all, and RikardPM was rapidly out in ninth.

The remaining eight would play more than a half-hour before the next elimination. With the blinds up to 200,000/400,000, it was yanko33 pushing for 3,580,840 from middle position and only EireAbu calling from the button. yanko33 had K♥Q♦ and needed help versus EireAbu's A♥Q♠, but the community cards brought none, coming 2♣A♣K♣5♠6♣ to send yanko33 railward in eighth.

The next two knockouts came in rapid order shortly afterward. First it was Ami "UhhMee" Barer pushing all in for 3,194,910 (not quite eight big blinds) from the cutoff with T♣9♠ and dynoalot calling from the button with A♦7♥. The board came 3♣4♦K♣2♦8♠, and UhhMee was done in seventh.

Then came a huge hand in which Paul "KingPaulie" Hockin opened for 1,111,111 from the cutoff, then Thodoris "teo96" Aidonopoulos reraised all in for 10,396,350 from the button. EireAbu responded by shoving all in over the top for more than 16 million from the small blind, forcing dynoalot in the big blind and KingPaulie to step aside. The players' cards were revealed:

EireAbu: Q♠Q♥
teo96: 5♥5♠

The board ran out A♠T♥T♦8♠A♥, and teo96 was eliminated in sixth. After that big one EireAbu had grabbed the lead with more than 28.7 million, about twice what both dynoalot and KingPaulie had sitting in second and third.

Four hands after that one came another battle of pocket pairs. The blinds were 250,000/500,000 when dynoalot opened for 1.11 million from UTG, and it folded around to KingPaulie in the small blind who raised to 2,333,333. EireAbu folded, then dynoalot pushed all in for just over 9.7 million total and KingPaulie -- who'd nudged ahead of dynoalot before the hand had started -- called the all-in.

KingPaulie had Q♠Q♣, but dynoalot had K♦K♣. Then came the flop -- 9♣9♥Q♦! KingPaulie had seized the lead and now dynoalot was the one hoping to hit a two-outer. But the turn was the J♣ and river the 5♠, and dynoalot was gone in fifth.

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The last four players played a couple of orbits, then leshard81 open-raised all in for 7,480,272 from the button with Q♦J♦ and Paul "KingPaulie" Hockin called from the big blind with A♣9♣. The board came 8♠K♠3♣3♥8♥, and Hockin's hand was best. They were down to three.

Play continued for a few hands, then was paused so the final trio could talk about a possible deal. At that point KingPaulie led with 33,697,011, EireAbu was next with 27,757,848, and WallterBish last with 11,745,141.

"Chip chop" numbers were produced (leaving $20K for which to play), and while KingPaulie and EireAbu were okay with the numbers after Hockin agreed to send a few thousand from his total EireAbu's way, WallterBish did not like what was being offered to him and so no deal was made.

Soon after that WallterBish doubled through KingPaulie when his A♦Q♣ held versus the latter's Q♠6♠, but over the next 15 minutes KingPaulie battled back to reclaim those chips and the lead once again.

Then WallterBish scored another double through Hockin, using A♠Q♥ to top KingPaulie's K♦J♥ this time. KingPaulie would subsequently lose another medium-sized pot to EireAbu, and suddenly he was the short stack with less than 6 million.

KingPaulie chipped up a little, then pushed all in for 6,515,788 from the button, getting a single caller in EireAbu in the small blind. KingPaulie had J♠T♣ and EireAbu A♥6♣. The flop came 5♠8♣9♠, giving KingPaulie an open-ender. But the turn was the 9♦ and river the A♣, and Hockin was out in third.

Heads-up play began with EireAbu ahead with 40,785,302 to WallterBish's 32,414,698. They traded chips for 15 minutes during which stretch WallterBish edged into the chip lead with better than 44 million to EireAbu's almost 29 million.

Then a key hand developed in which the pair put in a series of bets on a 8♦7♦7♣ flop to put EireAbu all in with 9♦7♥ (a set of sevens) versus WallterBish's A♦5♦ (flush draw), and EireAbu's hand held. Take a look:

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On the very next hand, EireAbu put in a min-raise to 1.6 million from the button, then WallterBish shoved for 15,633,510 total and EireAbu called. WallterBish showed K♠9♣ and EireAbu K♦Q♥, and five cards later -- J♣4♦8♦8♣3♦ -- EireAbu had all 73.2 million chips.

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Congratulations to EireAbu of Ireland for topping a field of 7,320 to win this week's Sunday Million and the full $219,600 first prize!

Sunday Million results for 2/19/12:
1st: EireAbu ($219,600)
2nd: WallterBish ($161,581.68)
3rd: KingPaulie ($117,120)
4th: leshark81 ($77,592)
5th: dynoalot ($60,024)
6th: teo96 ($45,384)
7th: UhhMee ($31,476)
8th: yanko33 ($17,568)
9th: RikardPM ($11,346)

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Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million